James Webb’s first image of distant galaxies – New Scientist

The first scientific image from the James Webb Space Telescope is the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the universe ever recorded.

The James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) has revealed galaxies we’ve never seen before. from today Deep fieldAn image of the new telescope has been released.

The image is magnified more than any other infrared image we’ve ever taken of the universe. But this record won’t last long, as JWST continues to push the boundaries of astronomical observation. Four more films will release this afternoon.

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Gravity lens

JWST will launch from French Guiana in late 2021 and enter its final orbit around the Sun in early 2022. Now the first images are coming in high quality that can be used for science. US President Joe Biden made the announcement at a press conference at the White House on July 11 Deep fieldRegistration is being done.

This first image is of a space region called SMACS 0723. This is called gravitational lensing. In such regions, a heavy object relatively close to Earth acts as a magnifying glass. As a result, space is distorted and the light of everything behind is stretched.

The James Webb Space Telescope’s first deep image. Image: NASA/ESA/CSA/STScI

Gravitational lensing in SMACS 0723 is particularly strong because the nearby object distorting spacetime is not a galaxy, but a massive galaxy. Magnified by the lens, the tiny specks and streaks of light visible at the edges of the image are distant, incredibly faint galaxies. Some of these were among the first galaxies ever to form.

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A fascinating note

We could not see these galaxies until now. This is due to the expansion of the universe. JWST’s predecessor, the Hubble Space Telescope, senses light primarily in visible wavelengths. JWST also measures infrared light, allowing it to detect red-appearing objects invisible to Hubble.

“We think that stars form in a very different way from parent material in the distant universe, but we’ve never observed it,” says the astronomer. Stephen Wilkins from the University of Sussex in the United Kingdom. “There’s a lot of important physics we don’t know.”

This first image shows an exciting hint of what JWST will bring in the form of both additional photographs of the universe and detailed observations. In the coming weeks, JWST will open doors to science that will transform our understanding of the universe.

“All the data we’ve seen so far only shows that the system is working. This is the first data we can do science with, and very soon we’ll have data we can do science with,” Wilkins says.

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